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Newton board sets new public hearing dates on revised 2022 budget
Newton County Historic Courthouse
The Historic Courthouse in Covington where the Newton County Board of Commissioners meets. - photo by File Photo

The Newton County Board of Commissioners has scheduled two new public hearings on its 2022 budget after voting to delay action to revise it from an earlier version.

Public hearings are set for July 20 at 6 p.m.; and Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. — both of which will precede 7 p.m. regular meetings of the Board of Commissioners the same nights, the county government announced today.

The Board voted to delay action on the proposed $78.1 million General Fund budget June 15 after County Manager Lloyd Kerr asked commissioners to allow him to submit a new plan.

The new plan was to include enough cuts to offset the money needed to give all employees a step increase in the county's salary grade system that will average 3.5% to 4.5% in pay increases. 

The step increase for all 694 employees on the salary plan will cost $1.1 million to $1.4 million, officials have said.

Kerr said the increases are needed to keep the county competitive for employees in a tight labor market because it regularly competes with the private sector and neighboring governments for a number of positions.

Commissioners have indicated they wanted a final budget plan that will allow them to reduce the property tax rate and give tax relief to property owners facing much higher assessments based on rising prices in the real estate market.

The Board will only meet once in July for a regular meeting rather than twice during the month as is normally done. It will not meet on July 6 but will meet July 20.

All meetings are scheduled for the Newton County Historic Courthouse at 1124 Clark St. in Covington.